Although fans can now scrutinize and savor Daniel Day-Lewis’ every Oscar-winning tic, curse and violent outburst as a turn-of-the-century oilman in Paul Thomas Anderson’s “There Will Be Blood,” this epic inevitably loses some impact on the small screen. And, while handsomely packaged, Paramount’s two-disc special edition comes up dry.
The film itself received an excellent widescreen transfer, allowing viewers to re-appreciate Robert Elswit’s Oscar-winning cinematography. And Jonny Greenwood’s eerie score will give even a basic home theater system a real workout.
However, as with most Anderson films on DVD, “Blood” eschews typical bonus features. Instead, there’s a smattering of extras that are interesting but hardly illuminating. A director’s commentary is sorely missed and little time is spent chronicling Day-Lewis’ famously obsessive on-set behavior. There is one brief exception, “Dailies Gone Wild,” which highlights a particularly intense take that ends with Day-Lewis and child actor Dillon Freasier sharing a spirited laugh. After two-and-a-half hours of snarling intensity, it’s amusing to see Day-Lewis/Daniel Plainview crack a very human smile.
Two lengthy deleted scenes that focus on Plainview add little to the storyline and characterizations. Unfortunately, there is no extra footage of Paul Dano’s stellar supporting turn.
Disc Two’s centerpiece is the 1923 documentary short, “The Story of Petroleum,” which details the process of oil drilling in that era. While fascinating to watch once, it’s unlikely to inspire repeat viewings.
The second disc also trumpets the film’s admirable devotion to period realism with a collection of stills and 1920s film footage juxtaposed with shots from the film. However, the DVD declines to open the curtain on Anderson’s filmmaking process.
Other notable DVD releases for the week of April 8:
- Robert Redford takes on the Iraq war in “Lions For Lambs” starring Tom Cruise, Meryl Streep and Redford.
- John C. Reilly stars in the Judd Apatow-produced music pic spoof “Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story.”
- Producer-narrator Leonardo DiCaprio goes green with the docu “The 11th Hour”
- Joaquin Phoenix and Mark Ruffalo star in Terry George’s drama “Reservation Road.”
- Family fantasy pic “The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep” is based on the children’s novel by Dick King-Smith.
- Begin at the beginning with season one of TV’s “Matlock,” starring Andy Griffith.
- Get your Jane Austen on with BBC’s 2007 take on “Sense & Sensibility.”
- Season six of the O.G. “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” arrives from Dimension X. Pizza not included.